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“A Lad of Character”

The Clifton Review

The Clifton Review is a tri-weekly column that examines the question of the Clifton project along with the evolution of the war between two billionaires. We covered the start of this war with articles describing the battle over easement rights, the mysterious burning of a home, the blocks to rebuilding, and countless questionable court filings.

The 2018 series salutes fashion mogul Peter Nygård’s Golden Jubilee detailing his rags to riches story and incredible business success over these past fifty years. The Clifton Review will take an inside look at how he did it.

“A Lad of Character”

By P.J. Malone

It is likely that if we look back on the early years of successful people, we will see signs of their future success. Whether it’s reflected in their attitudes, approach to tasks or demonstrated in their actions, there is usually an indication of where that individual is headed. For fashion mogul Peter Nygard, the signs came early in his life, even in the midst of his family’s focus on survival.

Living in poverty in their new land, survival was the order of the day. So Peter went from collecting Coke bottles out of ditches to starting his own paper route at the age of twelve. For Peter, it was only natural to always work hard. He’d watch his parents do it all of his young life. So, it wasn’t long before one paper route turned into three. Soon he had to hire help. He hired two neighbourhood boys and his sister to help deliver the newspapers while he focused on collections.

However, it wasn’t enough for Peter to do what everyone else was doing. He had learned at a very early age what it was to compete from his Finnish culture. Before the age of ten, Peter was competing in ‘Mini Olympic’ events back in Finland. And, it wasn’t just about competing. He had seen his parents win awards at community sporting events. Therefore, in Peter’s mind, you had to not only compete; you had to win!

Peter’s competitive spirit was always present and even in delivering papers he wanted to be the best.

At age fourteen, the Winnipeg Free Press Company Ltd. presented Peter with a 1955 Carrier’s Certificate of Honor that read,

“Peter Nygård gave perfect service during the six months. During this period he has delivered on the average 72 papers daily without a single complaint being recorded against him.”

The newspaper mandated the following standard:

​The delivery of the FREE PRESS to its subscribers, promptly, faithfully, carefully, and on time each and every day is a service which demands a high standard of performance from the boys of its carrier staff.

​Every FREE PRESS carrier must be at his depot or corner on time, in order that the subscriber’s paper may be found clean, straight and whole when it is expected. He must be punctual.

​He must not be deterred by rain or storm, or snow, or the blast of northern blizzard. He must be faithful.

​The newspaper must not only be delivered, but must be placed where it is safe, secure, accessible. He must be careful.

​The carrier is his own merchant, obtaining credit from his newspaper and extending it to his customer, the subscriber. He must exercise judgment, be trustworthy, prompt and accurate in settlement.

​The faithful performance of these exacting duties stamps the boy who is entrusted with their discharge as a lad of character. The performance of his duties, coupled with the general handling of his route and the coming into frequent personal contact with his numerous customers, is an invaluable discipline and training to a boy, and many former carrier lads of the FREE PRESS who have since achieved success in profession or business are proud to acknowledge that their success was influenced by this training.

No doubt this was an indication of Peter Nygård’s commitment and determination to always perform his tasks to perfection. It was certainly a sign of the success to come in his life.

Written by Jones Bahamas

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